Fowler’s victory at Abu Dhabi Golf Club – he finished on 16-under-par after a final round of three-under-par 69 – means he has leapt two places up the world rankings to fourth.
The American was particularly pleased that he had clinched his second European Tour title competing against the world number one Jordan Spieth, who finished tied for fifth and the four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who came joint third.
“With the golf course here, the tournament, HSBC and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, being able to put the field that they have put together this week has been great,” Fowler, who finished one shot ahead of second-place Thomas Pieters from Belgium, said. “I think we had five of the top-10 in the world and so on from there. Obviously Rory and Jordan are a huge draw over here, and to get to play with those guys the first two days, it was a lot of fun.
“But to win with them in the field, it’s awesome. I mean, I want to be playing against the best players in the world and beating the best players in the world. Yeah, we definitely had a great field here this week. I’m looking forward to going to battle with those guys all year long and for the rest of our careers.”
“I’ve got my eye sight on [world number] one, that would be the ultimate goal, but I’m up against some pretty tough competition,” he added.
“I’d like to jump in and be a part of that crew and see if we can continue to win some majors, if I can jump in there. Like I said, the goal right now with where my game’s at, the best it’s been this early in the season in my career, I’m working on getting ready for [the US Masters] at Augusta. And I’d like to have my shot at getting the green jacket there.”
The world number four had held a three-shot lead at the turn but, while he made seven straight pars on the back nine, McIlroy came home in 31 with an eagle at the last. Meanwhile, Stenson came back in 32 to sit one shot behind the leader in the clubhouse.
Fowler was not to be outdone, however, and he chipped in on the 17th to open up a two-shot lead and a par up the last was enough to keep him at 16 under and hand him a one-shot victory over Pieters, who birdied the final hole.
The 27-year-old had earlier holed from a bunker for an eagle on the eighth immediately after a
double bogey on the seventh had seen his advantage cut to one on a dramatic final day.
The victory follows Fowler’s triumph at last season’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and makes him just the second American to win the Abu Dhabi event after Chris DiMarco, who claimed the inaugural title in 2006.
272 - Rickie Fowler (USA) 70-68-65-69
273 - Thomas Pieters (BEL) 69-73-64-67
274 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 65-72-70-67, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 66-70-70-68
277 - Marcel Siem (GER) 72-68-70-67, Jordan Spieth (USA) 68-73-68, Alezandro Canizares (ESP) 71-71-66-69, Branden Grace (RSA) 66-74-66-71, Byeong-hun An (KOR) 69-68-69-71, Joost Luiten (NED) 69-68-68-72
278 - Shiv Kapur (IND) 74-69-65-70, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 68-69-71-70, Peter Hanson (SWE) 69-69-69-71
279 - Ian Poulter (ENG) 70-69-68-72, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 70-67-70-72
280 - Richie Ramsay (SCO) 73-66-72-69, Johan Carlsson (SWE) 69-71-71-69, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 71-71-68-70, Wu Ashun (CHN) 69-72-69-70, Trevor Fisher Jr (RSA) 69-70-70-71, Martin Kaymer (GER) 69-69-71-71
© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2021. All rights reserved.